Career Options

The following list is not all-inclusive, but does identify some of the most common career and job opportunities in the four health-fitness settings. Exercise science graduates from NDSU (approximately 30 to 40 per year) are employed in these different settings across the country, especially in metropolitan areas. Approximately 30% of our graduates have continued on to graduate school or medical school, and about 20% have been hired on at their internship site. 

Commercial Setting -- The greatest proportion of jobs can be found in for-profit, commercially run health-fitness facilities. The commercial environment is for someone interested in the marketing and sales of health-fitness services and products. This also is a good place for broad exposure to management in the health-fitness industry. 

Community Setting --Many organizations and agencies serve clients in community settings, including voluntary, not-for-profit entities, as well as public parks and recreation agencies, schools and universities, hotels, country clubs and residential health-fitness developments. Many community-based facilities and programs offer exposure to health-fitness programming coupled with a social and recreational focus. 

Corporate Setting --  In-house health-fitness facilities and services are found in large and small-scale businesses in significant numbers. The objectives of these facilities may include reductions in employee absenteeism, turnover rates and health care costs, while improving employee wellness, morale and enthusiasm in the workplace.

Clinical Setting -- Hospital-based health-fitness facilities can be found in one out of every four hospitals, with a forecasted growth to almost two out of every four hospitals expected within the next decade. Most of these facilities are closely associated with out patient services, such as physical therapy, sports medicine and cardiac rehabilitation, and frequently provide all these programs in the same facility. 

With an ES degree and no experience, a starting salary averages up to $45,000 per year. However, the starting salary for health-fitness professionals is difficult to predict because of such factors as experience, geographic location, employment setting and market demand. It also may depend on licensure and certification. An advanced degree at the master's level may improve employment possibilities.

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